A former campsite
In the village Malimbe, some 10 km south of Mwanza is a former campsite. The site is 4 acres large and is located in a rocky terrain, not far from Lake Victoria. Mama Marga, as the children are calling her, saw the site as a paradise for street children when she purchased the camping in 2003. At this site there are now several traditional African dormitories, an office with storage space, two kibandas (circular covered areas) a study center with office space and a library (built in 2012). There is also a small football field and a shamba (vegetable garden). All is surrounded by beautiful vegetation with mango trees and bougainvillea’s. Hoja Tarsisius is the center manager of Malimbe Family. Hoja and his team have done a lot of work to make this beautiful campsite with the small houses habitable. There is light in all the houses (solar power) and there is a simple water supply. The grass roofs of the houses have been repaired. Wash areas, toilets, water tanks as well as areas where the boys can wash their clothing have been constructed.
On average 50 boys in the age range of 8 till 18 years live together as one big African family under the permanent guidance of a motivated team. The children who stay in Malimbe Family can (for the time being) not return home.
The team has been trained in educating, guiding and counseling of the children.
In the morning they go to a local primary school and the team has regular contact with the teachers. When they come back from school there is a meal ready for them, prepared by the cook and the matron who is also a nurse. In the afternoon the children make their homework get extra tuition in the study center. Children living nearby in the village can also attend this tuition. Thereafter there is time for football and to play. In the evening the “babu” (grandparent) of the children sits together with the children around the campfire. He tells traditional, educational stories and afterwards the children can more easily express themselves and talk about their problematic domestic situations.
On the site there is also a “shamba” (a vegetable garden) and there are a few dogs. The gardener teaches the children how to grow vegetables. They grow maize, spinach, tomatoes and groundnuts. The children learn how to look after the animals and the garden and in this way they learn to take responsibility for their daily needs as is customary in Tanzania.
In addition to the team there are also other persons, often volunteers, who organize special workshops. Through drama and expression the children learn the difference between good and bad. Educational subjects are taught through drama and plays. Music, dance and acrobatic lessons give the children a possibility to express themselves and by doing so regain the self-esteem.